New jobs, millions of dollars expected for Leesville after agreement with Fort Polk

Leesville, LA. (KALB) Fifty new jobs and an estimated 2.91 million dollars a year is expected for the city of Leesville following an Intergovernmental Support Agreement with Fort Polk for vegetation control services.

Leesville City Council members voiced their optimism and support of an agreement with Fort Polk that would bring new jobs and revenue. (KALB)

Two years in the making, this ten-year agreement was approved by city council at a meeting Thursday afternoon.

"You now have soldiers focusing on the mission of what they're in the army to do, accomplish and train and win our nation's wars instead of mowing grass," explained Mike Reese, Chairman of Fort Polk Progress when asked to address the council.

He said the agreement is mutually beneficial. It's part of a national initiative introduced in 2013, Section 3-31 'shared services,' aimed at reducing costs to maintain military installations while supporting local economies.

"We're making the operation of Fort Polk more efficient, more cost-effective," Reese said. "This is really looking for opportunities for win-wins with the community and the military to manage their on-base services as efficiently as some of the off-base communities manage theirs."

Leesville Mayor Rick Allen said the benefit to the city goes beyond adding more jobs.

"The equipment we'll be purchasing to utilize on this contract we'll also be able to use on other city projects like our airport and things like that," Mayor Allen said.

Spearheaded by the previous Fort Polk garrison commander, Mayor Allen said the current garrison commander has 'kept the ball rolling.' Allen hopes to secure similar agreements in the future.

"We have been handed this contract that we worked together on and that's why it's very important that Leesville not do a good job, but a great job," said Allen. "We have to prove to the army that if they trust us and partner with us, we won't let them down."

Reese added that a solid waste agreement with the Vernon Parish Police Jury signed last year helped save Fort Polk a couple million dollars.

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